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*Says APC candidate will turn Nigeria to his personal fiefdom 

*Meets PDP NASS members, candidates in Abuja*PANDEF youth wing back Atiku/Okowa
*Ex-Niger Delta militants endorse Peter ObiPANDEF youth wing back Atiku/Okowa
*Ex-Niger Delta militants endorse Peter Obi

The presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, called on Nigerians not to elect his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Bola Tinubu, arguing that doing so would mean a transition from frying pan into fire. Atiku said this in a statement by his Special Assistant on Public Communications, Phrank Shaibu.

The statement came as youths from the Niger Delta region, under the aegis of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) Youth Wing, rejected the endorsement of the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, by the national leadership of PANDEF.
The PANDEF youth wing, instead, announced their support for Atiku and his running mate, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa.
In a statement by Shaibu, Atiku maintained that Nigerians must not be deceived by Tinubu’s message of renewed hope, describing it as “hopelessness in disguise”.

The former vice president said in the statement, “It is one week to the election, and expectedly, campaigns have reached fever pitch. But amid the excitement and tension, voters must guard their hearts jealously, as the ruling APC will try to use every subterfuge and stratagem in its manual to deceive them once more. These last days are similar to the end time predicted in the Holy Books.

“Nigerians must not let themselves to be deceived by this ‘corn-man’ selling renewed hopelessness disguised as renewed hope. Your hope will be stolen from you if he is allowed to govern Nigeria. That, indeed, will be a state of hopelessness – hell on earth, frying pan to fire.”
Atiku said as part of an alleged grand deception, Tinubu, who started his campaign mid last year with a promise to continue with President Muhammadu Buhari’s “impeccable legacy”, had in the last three weeks been promising to reverse them.

He asked Tinubu to make up his mind on whether he was running on Buhari’s legacy or running against it so as not to deceive innocent voters.
The statement added, “Tinubu says the petrol scarcity and the naira shortage are aimed at scuttling his ambition. Later, he and his acolytes said they were only voicing out against the policy out of sheer concern for the masses.
“These are people who never muttered a word when students spent 10 months at home in 2020 and eight months at home in 2022 due to unprecedented university lecturers’ strike.

“These are people that never criticised the president at the height of the insecurity when schoolchildren were being abducted almost on a daily basis and when the naira witnessed a free fall that led to a sharp increase in the price of goods.
“Someone needs to tell Tinubu and his band of APC governors to, please, give up this irritating ostentatious performance of moral propriety. They are not angry about the naira redesign because they love the masses. They are only angry that their plan to unleash bullion vans on poor Nigerians has been thwarted.”
Atiku alleged that should Tinubu become the president of Nigeria, he would turn the country into his personal fiefdom and make it a one party state by muzzling the opposition, as he had done in Lagos State since 1999. He added that Tinubu would also turn the National Assembly into his footstool and orchestrate the fall of the Fourth Republic.

Atiku contended, “Tinubu has turned Lagos State into his personal fiefdom by arrogating all powers to himself so much so that even the current governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, publicly refers to him as ‘my principal’, clear evidence that Tinubu is far above the constitutionally recognised authority in the state.
“It is through the instrumentality of the state House of Assembly that he successfully impeached two of his deputy governors – Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele and Femi Pedro. It was also through this subservient House that Tinubu passed the obnoxious governors’ pension law that would see him earn more allowances than a former president.
“He has also infiltrated and bastardised every facet of Lagos society, including transport unions, who openly extort money from transporters and shop owners with impunity because they have pledged their loyalty to him.”

Atiku maintained that Tinubu’s actions in the past and even now had shown that he had no respect for Buhari or his office.
He said in 2018, Buhari and some northern governors personally appealed to Tinubu to let Governor Akinwunmi Ambode contest a second term, but the former Lagos State governor ignored their entreaties, thereby publicly embarrassing the president.
He further alleged that Tinubu orchestrated the removal of “respected” former Edo State Governor, John Oyegun, and ensured that his lackey, Adams Oshiomhole, emerged as the national chairman of APC.

Through Oshiomhole, Atiku stated that Tinubu undermined several governors in their states and went on to suspend them, including Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, who described Tinubu as “Capo Di Tutti”, a term of Italian origin often used to describe the overall boss within a mafia family or group.
Atiku also questioned Tinubu’s mental capacity to lead Nigeria amid the gaffes and slips at the many APC rallies. He said Nigeria was facing monumental challenges and needed a focused leader, not a man who constantly needs his handlers to explain his unintelligible message to Nigerians.

Atiku Meets PDP NASS Members, Candidates in Abuja

Following the end of his nationwide political rallies at the weekend, Atiku started a new phase of consultation with party stakeholders, with the election less than a week away.
Last night in Abuja, Atiku met with PDP members of the National Assembly and the party’s candidates in Saturday’s election. The venue of the meeting was Transcorp Hilton. It was expected to provide the party’s flag bearer the opportunity to review the campaigns and preparation for the Saturday exercise.
Atiku is expected to follow up Sunday’s sessions with meetings with other key party stakeholders in the remaining days before the presidential poll.
The meeting with the National Assembly members was expected to commence at 10 pm.

PANDEF Youth Wing Backs Atiku/Okowa

Niger Delta youths under the aegis of PANDEF Youth Wing rejected the endorsement of Obi by some members of the national leadership of PANDEF.
Rising from an emergency meeting yesterday in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the headquarters of PANDEF, the leadership of PANDEF Youth Wing, South-south States, said those who purportedly endorsed Obi in a meeting of the Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Leaders recently were on their own.
However, a group of former agitators from the Niger Delta distanced themselves from the endorsement of the Atiku/Okowa ticket for Saturday’s presidential election by the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA). The 21st Century Youths of Niger Delta and Agitators with Conscience (21st CYNDAC), in a statement signed by Gen. Izon Ebi, and made available through email, described the Delta State governor and vice-presidential candidate of PDP, Okowa, as a political saboteur.

The group said the press statement by RNDA endorsing the Atiku/Okowa ticket on behalf of the ex-militants in the Niger Delta was not only misleading, but also selfish and unpatriotic, especially when they were not consulted.
While the group insisted they had all agreed on Obi as the choice for the presidential election on Saturday, PANDEF youth wing claimed that Obi’s endorsers did so without due consultation with stakeholders, particularly the youth body of PANDEF, comprising national officers and state chapters’ chairmen.
The PANDEF youths’ rejection of Obi’s endorsement was contained in a communiqué after the meeting presided by National Deputy Youth Leader, Vincent Oyibode.

The communique was signed by Edo State Youth Leader, Don Ben; Rivers State Youth Leader, Mr. Henry George; Akwa Ibom Youth Leader, Mr. Victor Asuquo; Cross River Youth Leader, Chief Ani Esin; Delta State Youth Leader, Chief Sylvester Okumagba; and Bayelsa State Youth Leader, Mr Berenengia Samuel.
The PANDEF youths argued that a meeting where sensitive decisions were to be taken must involve all national executive officers and state chapter chairmen.
They stated, “There was no time PANDEF ever held a meeting to debate the need to participate or take a position as a group on the 2023 general elections and that those who purportedly endorsed Obi at that meeting spoke for themselves and not PANDEF and the South-south region of the Niger Delta.

“That the major focus of PANDEF is to promote sons and daughters of the region on issues of public interest that bear direct and indirect impact on the well-being of the Niger Delta people, as that is the constitutional aim and objective of the PANDEF constitution.
“That the same persons, without any meeting with stakeholders, have given ultimatum to a son of the Niger Delta, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), to drop his ambition for reasons best known to them and that this does not have the blessing of the youths of region.”
They sympathised with the families of youths who lost their lives in Edo State and other places as a result of the violent protests over the naira scarcity.

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Kogi Labour Party Denies LG Chairmen Defection To APC



The Labour Party in Kogi State has debunked the rumours making the round that 21 local government chairmen of the party have defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress.

Addressing newsmen at the party’s secretariat in Lokoja, the Publicity Secretary,  Idakwo Emmanuel said that there was no iota of truth in the rumours adding that it was an act of desperation on the part of APC.

“The level of desperacy of the ruling party is despicable and regrettably lugubrious,” he said.

According to him, “The campaign of Labour Party in Kogi State was flagged off by Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate and national leader of the part. The national chairman Julius Abure and other NWC members in attendance were also in attendance.

“Obviously the silence of our party is loud and terrifying to the ruling party as unknown and unidentifiable individuals are now sponsored by them to deceive the masses claiming to be Labour Party local government chairmen.

“I hereby state without equivocation that the structure of the Labour Party is intact and solidly working hard to rescue our dear state, and our move as a party is organic with genuine supporters and members.”

He said that the media and audience following must reject all individuals who are not card-carrying members of the party.


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NNPP Blames Kwankwaso As Tribunal Sacks Kano Gov



The New Nigeria People’s Party has blamed a former presidential candidate of the party, Rabiu Kwankwaso of being responsible for the loss of Kano governor, Yusuf Abba at the State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal.

The party insisted that Kwankwaso allegedly sold out NNPP to the ruling All Progressives Congress in order to negotiate for a ministerial slot in the President Bola Tinubu-led government.

The Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal had on Wednesday, sacked Abba, and declared the APC candidate, Nasir Gawuna, winner of the March 18 governorship poll.

The three-man panel, led by Justice Oluyemi Akintan-Osadebay, further withdrew the Certificate of Return the Independent National Electoral Commission presented to Yusuf.

Stating reasons why the Kano governor was sacked, the panel said the margin of votes scored by NNPP was invalid and not in compliance with the 2022 electoral act.

The judges deducted 165,663 votes from the NNPP, adding that the ballot papers of the 165,663 were not stamped or signed and therefore declared invalid.

Reacting, One of the Chieftain of NNPP in Southwest, Alhaji Abass Akande Onilewura, in a statement made available to newsmen on Thursday, said the loss of the party in Kano corroborated the anti-party allegation raised against Kwankwaso.

Onilewura stressed that the former NNPP flagbearer’s alleged involvement in anti-party activities led to the big loss the party is facing with the declaration of the Tribunal in Kano.

He insisted that Kwankwaso did not follow due process in the selection of some of the governorship candidates for the party, which reportedly led to the filing of unpopular or unacceptable flagbearers.

He added, “This loss is a big one for us at NNPP and it only happened because of the selfishness of Kwankwaso who sold the party to the highest bidder.

“While we are still waiting for the Certified True Copy of the tribunal judgment, it is important for the world to know that this would not have happened if Kwankwaso had allowed due process and given the ticket to the most qualified candidate but his inlaw.

“Our investigation also showed that the continuous engagement of Kwankwaso with APC at some point gave room for them to discover loopholes which were later used against the Kano governor to secure victory for the opposition.

“It is unfortunate that some of us sweat to get the party to where it is today, only for someone like Kwankwaso to come and make all our efforts a waste. We are happy that someone like that has been expelled from this great party.

“We also want to use the avenue to warn him to stay clear of NNPP, we don’t want a betrayal in our party and we would do anything humanly possible to secure our party from hijackers who are more concerned about personal gain.

“I will also urge our members across the country to remain calm because a new leadership has taken over the party and we would do everything to restore the glory of our party. NNPP will come out to become a strong voice and opposition that would stand for justice, equity, and good governance.”


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Obaseki/Shaibu: Deputy Govs Are Spare Tyres – Lawyer



Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Onueze Okocha (SAN), has said that the deputy governors have no specific constitutional functions, describing them as “spare tyres.” 

Okocha made this known while reacting to the lingering feud between the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Philip Shaibu.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria in an interview on Channels TV said the deputy governors could only exercise the functions assigned to them by the governor.

He said until circumstances like impeachment, the death, or incapacitation of a governor arise, a deputy governor remains in a passive position, not totally different from that of a spare tyre.

He said, “Deputy governors are like spare tyres, they stay in the boot, nobody uses spare tyres if the four types are working.

“The truth of the matter and this is legal position is that a deputy governor has no specifically assigned functions under the constitution.

“It is only the governor of a state that can assign responsibilities to his deputy or to any of the commissioners in the state executive council.

“So a deputy governor does not really have any responsibility until the governor assigns a responsibility to him. So clearly no deputy governor can claim to have executive authority over any matter in the state until it has been assigned to him by the governor.

“A governor usually has prerogative to pick who should be his running mate and it is expected that the running mate, if they eventually win, will exhibit total loyalty and support to his governor.

“The constitution says clearly that you can exercise only those functions and perform those duties that have been assigned to you by the governor. So this is the point I need to be make to all those who are deputy governors, who are vice presidents. 

“Until the president assigns the function to you, until the governor assigns the function to you, you just stay there and wait until a circumstance may arise.

“If there is something like impeachment, death or incapacitate of a governor, the deputy governor will automatically assume the office but until those situations occur, a deputy governor is just a spare tyre.”


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